Years ago, one of my students asked me a question that sent me on the weekend reflection that would forever change my life. He asked,
“Hey Miss, other than teaching, what were your dreams? What is the one thing that you always wanted to do but didn’t?”
Until that moment, I never considered any other dreams aside from being in the classroom. I take that back. I did consider other dreams but once I became a teacher, it was as if I stopped dreaming. I “settled” into the life that chose me and decided to work to become the best teacher that I could be and that was not a bad thing since the best teacher that I could be was one who taught kids first. Beyond teaching math, I enjoyed moments where provoking the innermost thoughts of students led to great discovery.
The question above was born out of a discussion with students about whether or not they could achieve multiple goals or dreams. Once they realized that they could, the attention turned to me. They wanted to know what else I wanted to do other than teaching and why I had not pursued those goals. More questions…
“Why settle on one dream? If I say that I want to run a successful business, do I stop working once I reach success or should my goals change? You are a great teacher. You can say that you wish to be better everyday and that is great but what else drives you? There has to be more.”
For me, being an educator is the ultimate dream and within this dream are many possibilities. At the token, my reality did not include leaving the classroom as the opportunities to do so did not exist. I thought that I would remain in my hometown and teach our kids until retirement. With that said, I knew that I could impact more kids by working directly with their teachers and the conversation above jumpstarted this dream from being a nightly occurrence to real life action because as my students challenged me to face my own visions, they also reminded me that “dreaming was okay”…even for adults…NO, especially for adults.
As one of my students so eloquently stated, “How can you tell me about the importance of fighting for your dreams if you aren’t fighting for all of yours?”
That was my wakeup call and now consider this…YOURS.
Years ago, on that day, I confessed to my students that I dreamed of impacting education through working with teachers. I told them about the journal that I kept in hopes that I could rely on my classroom experiences to change education and one day possibly even authoring a book. I shared a TED talk with them because I knew that one day I wanted to share our story in the same way. I confessed my dream to travel outside of our city limits. Finally…I told them that I had every intention of starting my own school with their hopes and dreams in mind.
In the last few years, so many of those dreams have come to fruition even more vividly than I dreamt them. Some are still a work in progress but are coming along in such a way that I have no doubt that they will certainly happen…including starting my own school.
What I have learned along the way is that dreams are nothing more than visions of what is possible. Making those dreams a reality is all about persistence to achieve through hard work and in most cases, countless do-overs.
If you model nothing else for your students, model this act of dreaming, acting, reflecting, re-envisioning and evolving.
What better way to share the power of embracing what is possible than through active pursuit of possibilities…dreams
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt